The eventual launch of the Google Pixel 6a could be good news for people who like the look of the Pixel 6, but aren't as keen on the price tag Google has given it.
Google's Pixel a series of phones are budget alternatives to its main series - for example, the Pixel 5a was a more affordable version of the Pixel 5 - and with the Pixel 6 family being pricier than their predecessors, the Pixel 6a is doubly important.
While we don’t know anything for sure about the Google Pixel 6a yet, the design and some of the specs and features have started to leak, so we’re beginning to get a good idea about it.
Below you’ll find everything we’ve heard so far, along with information on the possible release date and price, and we’ll update this article as soon as we hear anything new about Google’s next handset.
Google Pixel 6a: cut to the chase
- What is it? The next mid-range Pixel
- When is it out? Sometime in 2022, perhaps May
- How much will it cost? Expect a mid-range price
Google Pixel 6a release date and price
The first big Pixel 6a release date rumor suggests the phone will be coming in May 2022. Max Jambor, a leaker who has a good track record for smartphone information, has said the release is scheduled for May.
The Google Pixel 5a was unveiled in August 2021, and the Pixel 4a was similarly launched in August 2020. That means Google will be pulling forward its launch to earlier in the year, and it's likely to avoid the upcoming Google Pixel 7 that we expect at the tailend of 2022.
Plus, the Pixel 5a was only sold in the US and Japan, so Google might want to soon make a more widely available mid-range model.
Google's own show (that's Google I/O) usually takes place in May, so we may see it make a debut at the 2022 version of that show. We've yet to get official dates from Google, but we'd expect it in the second half of the month. The company did similar when it announced the Pixel 3a.
There’s no news on what the phone might cost, but the Google Pixel 5a retailed for $449 (around £325 / AU$610), and the Pixel 4a 5G was $499 / £499 / AU$799, so somewhere in that region seems likely.
Design and display
We have a good idea of what the Google Pixel 6a might look like, as unofficial renders have been shared by OnLeaks (a leaker with a good track record) and 91Mobiles. You can see some of these below, and if you’ve seen the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro then the design here will look very familiar.
The design shown includes a large camera block running horizontally across the back of the phone, housing a dual-lens camera. There’s also a three-tone color scheme, a punch-hole camera on the front, and a flat screen.
You can also see power and volume buttons on the right edge, and a USB-C port along with speaker and microphone grilles on the bottom edge. There’s no sign of a headphone port.
According to the source, the Google Pixel 6a has a glass back and comes in at 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.7mm (or 10.4mm including the rear camera bump). That would make it slightly smaller than the Pixel 6, which makes sense as this phone also apparently has a smaller 6.2-inch OLED screen.
Exactly the same design can be seen in the photos below, which show what’s purportedly an aluminum dummy unit of the Pixel 6a. Dummy units are sometimes used by accessory makers and the like to help design products prior to a phone’s launch, though it’s not clear exactly where this one came from.
Camera and battery
While the Google Pixel 6a will probably inherit the design of the rest of the Pixel 6 range, it might not inherit their cameras, as code found in the Google Camera app suggests that this phone will have the same 12.2MP main camera as the Pixel 5a – and most other Pixels prior to the Pixel 6.
That would be in place of the 50MP one found on the latest models. However, the same code suggests that it will at least get the same 12MP ultra-wide snapper as the Pixel 6, and the same 8MP front-facing camera, so it might only be the main sensor that differs.
One big specs leak, which we'll dive into further in the next section, provides us with some battery details. It says we'll see a 4,800mAh cell inside the Pixel 6a alongside 30W fast-charging.
For reference, the Pixel 6 has a 4,614mAh battery, so the Pixel 6a could end up giving stronger battery performance than its more expensive sibling.
Specs and features
The Google Pixel 6a could live up to the Pixel 6 name, as not only might it have the same basic design as the rest of the range, but also the same chipset, as code found in the Google Camera app suggests as much.
That means it might have a Tensor chipset, designed to power advanced features like Live Translation.
We've since heard that from another source, and it matches with a lot of the other spec details we've heard.
Google Pixel 6a Scheduled for Q2 2022.Specs-6.2" 120Hz OLED Straight Display-Tensor GS101 Chipset Same as 6/6Pro-6GB/8GB RAM-128GB Storage-4800mAh + 30W Charging-12.2MP(IMX363)+12MP(IMX386) Ultra Wide Angle Rear Camera-8MP(IMX355) Selfie-Android 12-8.7mm ThickJanuary 23, 2022
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the Pixel 6a might have an in-screen fingerprint scanner, 128GB of storage, and 6GB or 8GB of RAM – along with running Android 12 out of the box. We’d expect it would also support 5G, since that’s a fairly standard feature now.
- Take a look at all the best Pixel phones